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2nd Quarter 2013, Fellowship Focus

May Commemoration Honors History, Contributions, Collaboration

On 3 May, more than 600 fellows, representatives from executive branch and congressional host offices and agencies, partner societies, and guests gathered to honor the 40-year history of the S&T Policy Fellowships program, celebrate accomplishments, and usher in the fifth decade of operation. The event, emceed by Fellowships Director Cynthia Robinson, highlighted the S&T Policy Fellowships as a collaborative enterprise, and acknowledged the contributions of the many individuals and organizations who contribute to its ongoing success, from sponsoring societies, host offices and mentors, to selection committee members, trainers, donors, staff, and the S&T Policy Fellows.  

Eight alumni speakers and a representative from from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), shared their views on the program's many contributions and influences. Their remarks illustrated how the program has enhanced national and international policy since its inception, while transforming the careers of scientists and engineers over the years.

Representing the inaugural class, Mike Telson, vice president for Energy and Advanced Concepts in the Washington, DC, office of General Atomics (1973-74 AAAS Congressional Fellow) provided context for the launch of the program and answering the call for civic engagement. Paul Gilman, senior vice president and chief sustainability officer at Covanta Energy (1978-79 AAAS Congressional Fellow), and the Honorable Rush Holt, U.S. Representative, NJ-12 (1982-83 APS Congressional Fellow), spoke about the importance of connecting science and policy. Click here to view Representative Holt's video-taped address.

Click here to read more.

40@40 Second Decadesecond

 In recognition of the milestone of our anniversary, we're highlighting 40 S&T Policy Fellows, one from each class. We are pleased to present the second decade of 40@40: Gerald Epstein, Arati Prabhakar, Maria Freire, Trudy Vincent, Miriam "Mim" Nelson, Willie Pearson Jr., Charles "Chuck" Blahous, Francesca Grifo, Jonathan Pershing, and Sharon Hrynkow.

Click here to read about them and hear brief podcasts about their fellowship experiences and current work.

The fellows are selected from more than 2,600 alumni to represent a range of alumni activities and accomplishments, and to demonstrate the broad diversity in the program, including an array of fellowship placements, disciplines, backgrounds, and sectors. With so many alumni there is much to be proud of. The third decade of 40@40 will be announced in the next issue of Fellowship Focus, planned for late-September.

Historical Timeline Now Livetimeline

Another initiative of this anniversary year is an online 40-year historical timeline of the Science & Technology Policy Fellowships. The timeline overlays key national and international news and policy events with AAAS history and fellowship program milestones. Explore the timeline to see how the program has evolved.

There have been six directors of the S&T Policy Fellowships over the program's 40-year history. Richard (Dick) Scribner was the first director and a chief architect of the structure of the program. He served two separate terms from 1973 to 1978 and 1980 to 1984. A former Member of Congress, Representative Charles Mosher (R, OH-13), served as director for a short period from 1978 to 1979. William Wells Jr. stepped in to lead the program from 1979 to 1980. Stephen Nelson was the fourth individual to hold the director post. He is the longest-serving director at 15 years, from 1984 to 1999. Claudia Sturges was the first female director of the program, in the position from 1999 to 2004. Cynthia Robinson joined AAAS as director in July 2004. All of the living program directors were in attendance at the 40th anniversary commemoration in May. 

Explore the timeline and learn more about our 40 Years of Monumental Experiences, Fundamental Contributions, and Substantial Results! The timeline format allows continual additions and enhancement to content. Feel free to send suggestions to with "Timeline Suggestion" in the subject line.

Sci on the Fly Blog Launched

Sci on the Fly! is a new blog featured on FellowsCentral that brings science to the public in an easy-to-digest format of 750 words or less. Created via the initiative of current S&T Policy Fellows Lynn Adams (2011-13 at EPA), Lynn Hull (2012-13 at NIH) and Judy Keen (2012-13 at NIH), the blog was launched to promote public dialog about science and science policy issues, and to provide a platform for fellows to publish articles directed to non-scientific audiences.

The blog showcases the diversity of fellows' interests, expertise, and fellowship experiences. "There is so much information available that directly impacts society," says Adams. "The blog fills the need for common-language explanations of the current scientific knowledge behind real life issues."

"Most blogs are focused on one person's interests and views," Keen notes. "Sci on the Fly allows for discussion surrounding many topics and perspectives. It's also an outreach mechanism and venue for cross-cohort connection," she explained.

Current and alumni fellows may author blog postings. Anyone may submit comments and participate in the discussion. A committee of fellows along with S&T Policy Fellowships staff review and monitor submissions and comments according to AAAS policy. To contribute, go to:

New Program Areasareas

Two pilot program areas will begin in the 2014-15 fellowship year. A Big Data & Analytics track will focus on a broad range of policy making and implementation challenges by applying analytical skills to data and trend analysis issues from infrastructure, technology, quality control, and presentation, to security, integrity, and ethics. Anticipated placement opportunities include any federal agency in Washington, D.C. that partners with the AAAS S&T Policy Fellowships®.

A one-year pilot Judicial Branch program will support contribution of scientific and technical expertise to judicial administration, operations, education programs, protocol and discovery, or courtroom technology and will foster first-hand knowledge about contemporary policy issues facing the judiciary. This pilot is generously funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation via grant #2568.02. The program is open to applicants with a minimum of three years of post-doctoral professional experience. Applicants who also hold a J.D. degree or have legal experience are preferred. Anticipated placement opportunities include the Federal Judicial Center or Federal Judicial Court of Washington, D.C.

New Application Deadline - November 1appDeadline

STPF is currently accepting applications for the 2014-15 fellowships, which will run from 1 September 2014 through 31 August 2015. The application deadline is now 1 November at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. For information about eligibility and selection criteria click here. To submit your application visit the S&T Policy Fellowships application website. Contact the AAAS S&T Policy Fellowships® staff with questions at

AAASLive Fellowships Chat on 14 Augustchat

A special two-hour AAASLive online chat session will be held on 14 August from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. The first hour will focus on general information about the S&T Policy Fellowships; the second hour will cover the two new program areas noted above, as well as new placement opportunities. The session will feature current and alumni fellows and staff to answer questions. Click here to learn more.

News & Achievements

GEF Council Names Bierbaum Chair of Advisory Panel

The governing Council of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) has appointed Rosina Bierbaum, a University of Michigan environmental scientist and advisor on science policy to President Obama, as chair of the GEF's Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP). Bierbaum was a 1980-81 Congressional Fellow in the Office of Technology Assessment. The STAP plays a critical role in helping the GEF - which funds environmental projects throughout the developing world - to advance an agenda of innovation and transformation in addressing threats to the global environment.

Donovan Receives Embassy Science Fellowship

Michael Donovan, a 2011-13 Fellow at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), has been selected to participate in the Embassy Science Fellowship. His work will focus on Majuro Atoll, the largest of the Marshall Islands. Donovan, who holds a doctorate in city and regional planning, currently co-chairs a task force that is developing USAID's new policy for service delivery and urban assistance. While in Majuro, he will focus on mapping capacity to identify environmental degradation resulting from rapid urbanization and influx in infrastructure development. The emphasis of the assignment is to support environmental sustainability and regulated coastal development, and to establish geographic information systems training programs at local universities.

Engel Campaigns for Maryland House of Delegates

Don Engel, 2006-07 Congressional Fellow in the Office of Representative Rush Holt (D-NJ), sponsored by the American Physical Society, is a candidate for the 11th district seat in the Maryland House of Delegates. Engel is assistant vice president for research at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. He says of his plan to run for elected office, "With the background in science and technology that I would bring to the state legislature, my unique perspective will help move Maryland forward." Read more about Engel's campaign in the Pikesville Patch.

Fisher Documents the Value of Behavioral and Social Science

Clinical psychologist and 2011-13 Fellow at the National Science Foundation (NSF), Craig Fisher, helped develop and then spearheaded an analysis of the value of social, behavioral and economic research. The project culminated in a summary report, Bringing People into Focus: How Social, Behavioral, and Economic Research Addresses National Challenges, which demonstrates the critical importance of human-focused research to national needs. The report is available via the NSF website and has been made available to Members of Congress and many other stakeholders around the country. Learn more and view the report.

Gautney Applies Social Science for Social Justice

Heather Gautney, 2012-13 Congressional Fellow, has focused her time in the Office of Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) on a range of social justice issues. These include raising the minimum wage as part of the 2013 Senate budget, hunger-relief policy in the Farm Bill, worker protections in this year's landmark immigration bill, and legislation aimed at stemming the student debt crisis. Gauteny holds a doctorate in sociology and is sponsored by the American Sociological Association. She also assisted to bolster Sen. Sanders' efforts on the American social safety net by conducting research on European social welfare systems, which culminated in a series of op-eds on Nordic social systems and town hall meetings in Vermont.

Hansen Crafts Impact Evaluations 

2011-13 Fellow at the U. S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Lexine Hansen, has utilized her social science training to help craft impact evaluations for pilot projects. With a doctorate in international community development, her qualitative research expertise aids in differentiating between anecdotes and data, clarifying the contextual and environmental factors in which projects take place, and determining which key social dynamics inhibit or enhance programs. Through site visits to Thailand, Cambodia and Zambia, she has supported USAID personnel to communicate, coordinate, and collaborate with counterparts in other development agencies on government-wide training initiatives and community-based conservation programs.    

Obama Nominates Robinson to Head DOE Office

Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced a reorganization of the department's management structure that establishes an Office of the Under Secretary for Management and Performance. Elizabeth (Beth) Robinson, a 1988-89 Congressional Fellow sponsored by the Geological Society of America, and currently the chief financial officer at NASA, has been nominated by President Obama to fill the position.

Stoll Develops Innovation in Graduate Education Challenge

Kate Stoll, 2011-13 Fellow at the National Science Foundation (NSF) with a doctorate in biochemistry, developed the NSF Innovation in Graduate Education Challenge. The initiative, announced at the 2013 AAAS Annual Meeting, offered graduate students an opportunity to present solutions to the following questions: "What is needed to prepare STEM graduate students to meet modern day challenges? What is necessary to navigate the career pathways of the future?" More than 500 submissions were received, and eight winners were announced in June. To learn more about the project, see the ScienceCareers article and visit the NSF project website.

Trusty Supports Technology for International Development   

2012-13 Fellow at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Teressa Trusty, earned her doctorate in anthropology, which has been a valuable asset to her role as a member of the Mobile Solutions team. Understanding social patterns and practices is important to successfully design human-centered programs. She has drawn upon her disciplinary background and experience in software development to develop a remote monitoring project in Afghanistan that assesses the impact of transitioning salary payments for government teachers from cash to mobile money. The project was structured to collect survey responses via text message. Teressa also conducted ethnographic research to assess how USAID could improve its investments in information and communication technology for development. As a result, she is now collaborating with the World Bank, UNICEF, the Gates Foundation, and other funders to support new technology initiatives.

Whitehead Leads Sustainable Energy Workshop

Peter Whitehead is a 2012-13 Fellow at the National Science Foundation (NSF), utilizing his training in electrical and systems engineering in the Directorate for Engineering, Division of Electrical, Communications and Cyber Systems. He organized and managed the NSF Sustainable Energy Pathways (SEP) Grantees Workshop that was held in June 2013. SEP has provided funding of $37 million to 20 programs that bring together scientists, behaviorists, social scientists, engineers, economists and business specialists. The goal is to foster a systems approach to sustainable energy.